Use of Modal Verbs as Stance Markers in Pakistani English Newspaper Editorials

Muhammad Ahmad 1 * , Muhammad Asim Mahmood 2, Muhammad Ilyas Mahmood 3, Ali Raza Siddique 4

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This study investigates the use of modal verbs as stance markers in Pakistani English newspaper editorials. For this purpose, corpora of 1000 editorials have been developed from the editorials published in The News, The Dawn, The Frontier and The Express Tribune (250 editorials from each newspaper) and analyzed using AntConc Results reveal that prediction, possibility and necessity are the characteristic features of Pakistani English newspaper editorials and the writers of these editorials use modality to report, comment or inform about the state of affairs. Results also show that the main focus of Pakistani English newspapers’ editorials is on depicting ‘what will happen’, ‘what may happen’ and ‘what is needed to happen’. On the basis of these results, the study concludes that modality, being an important linguistic property, is used by the editorialists to maintain interaction with readers, establish authorial persona and present personal as well as institutional stance. To cipher readers’ negative perception about stance, the editorialists make a skillful use of intermediate-value modals. Study suggests the editorial readers to be aware of the writer’s stance marking. For, it may influence mind and manipulate opinions.


editorialists’ stance editorials’ characteristic features modality in editorials modal verbs as stance markers stance in newspaper editorials


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 9, Issue 1, Article No: e201903

Published Online: 26 Feb 2019

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